80% of People in Arts Fear ‘Controversial Opinions’ Risk Professional Ostracism

A black X is put across the mouth of a relief adoring the plinth of the statue of Marianne at the Place de la Republique, on January 11, 2015 in Paris, prior to the start of a huge march which will end at the Place de la Nation. More than …
JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

More than eight in ten people working in culture and the arts feel those with “controversial opinions” risk professional ostracism.

The Freedom of Expression survey commissioned by ArtsProfessional magazine found in its research of 500 professionals that more than 80 per cent thought that “workers in the arts and cultural sector who share controversial opinions risk being professionally ostracised”.

This has resulted in arts sector workers self-censoring around colleagues or bosses if their views are considered “politically incorrect” or express support for Brexit, even thought a majority of the voting public backed it.

Non-liberal-progressive views on sex, religion, and sexuality were also considered forbidden.

Responses were anonymous. One said in the survey: “Our arts, culture, and indeed education sectors are supposed to be fearlessly free-thinking and open to a wide range of challenging views. However, they are now dominated by a monolithic politically correct class (mostly of privileged white middle-class people, by the way), who impose their intolerant views across those sectors.

“This is driving people who disagree away, risks increasing support for the very things this culturally dominant class professes to stand against, and is slowly destroying our society and culture from the inside.”

The findings were published after last month’s high-profile attempt to “cancel” British actor Laurence Fox, who challenged progressive orthodoxy on the BBC’s Question Time programme.

Dubbed the “anti-woke crusader” by Breitbart London’s James Delingpole on the journalist’s Delingpod show, Mr Fox further committed the cardinal sins in the entertainment industry of speaking favourably about Brexit and coming out as pro-Trump.

“Cancel Culture” is also prevalent in academia, where figures on both the left and right are being de-platformed for failing to have sufficiently woke views.

Oxford Brookes University cancelled a speech in November by feminist artist Rachel Ara because she was deemed “transphobic”.

The Open University in Milton Keynes cancelled a conference on prison reform after threats from transsexual activists over the proposed policy of separating biologically male prisoners claiming to be female from women.

Cambridge University cancelled a pro-Brexit lecture in November because it was deemed to not be “mainstream” and could make people feel “uncomfortable”.

Cambridge had also rescinded several months earlier the visiting fellowship of Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson after complaints from the students’ union.

Recent surveys also found that Brexiteer students feel unable to express their opinions in a classroom setting, whilst another found that conservative students likewise feel the same need to self-censor.

Even private citizens expressing opinions on important cultural issues are not immune to the creeping infringement on free speech, the cornerstone of Western democracy.

Last week saw former police officer Harry Miller win a High Court case against Humberside Police over his right to tell jokes about transgenderism.

The series of events began when a police officer called Mr Miller to “check his thinking” after his tweets were reported and classified as a ‘non-crime hate incident’.

Reports revealed that nearly 120,000 “non-crime hate incidents” had been recorded by 34 police teams across England and Wales between 2014 to 2019, with more than 3,300 recorded in a databae by Police Scotland in the same timeframe — with the “non-crimes” in question including “offensive” jokes.

Watch a clip from James Delingpole’s interview with Laurence Fox below, and see the full interview on the Delingpod here.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.